One of the Queen's corgis which played a starring role in the James Bond Olympics clip has died.
The dog, Monty was involved in a fight recently when he was one of a number of dogs which attacked Princess Beatrice's terrier Max over the summer, but it appears the fight - Max came off worst and nearly lost an ear in the fracas - was not a contributory cause of death.
Buckingham Palace is not officially revealing how or when the corgi, named Monty (after the American horse whisperer Monty Roberts who has advised the queen on dogs and horses) met his end, but palace sources told the Royalist the animal passed away of old age over the summer.
The animal died at the Royal Scottish residence of Balmoral, where, in accordance with tradition, he has been buried in the Royal pet cemetery opened by Queen Victoria when her beloved Collie, Noble, died there in 1887.
Noble was given his own gravestone, which reads:
'Noble by name by nature noble too
Faithful companion sympathetic true
His remains are interred here.'
The palace declined to say whether or not Monty would be receiving a headstone, but, as 13-year old Monty was one of the Queen's oldest and most beloved dogs, it seems likely he will.
The death of Monty is particularly significant as he was previously owned by the Queen Mother before her death, and the Queen is known to take the deaths of her pets hard: Lady Pamela Hicks, the mother of India Hicks once wrote a note when one of the Queen’s corgis died and received a six-page letter back.
“A dog isn’t important, so she can express the really deep feelings she can’t get out otherwise,” said Lady Pamela.
The Queen has also lost another dog in recent weeks, a dachsund-Corgi cross (or Dorgi) named Cider. He has also been buried in Balmoral.
Monty was one of the two corgis which greeted Bond, played by Daniel Craig, as he arrived at the palace to accept a mission to open the games in a scene filmed for the curtain-raiser to the London 2012 Games.
The dogs ran down the stairs, performed tummy rolls and then stood to attention as a helicopter took off for the Olympic stadium, carrying Bond and a stunt double of the monarch.
An insider involved in the shoot revealed exclusively to the Daily Beast that the Queen's corgis were 'impeccably' behaved on the shoot, and were much easier yo work with than stunt double dogs brought in for rehearsals and b-roll.
The Queen now owns just two Corgis: Willow and Holly and two Dorgis: Candy and Vulcan. Willow and Holly also appeared in the Olympic film.